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Science AMA Series: We are the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, and we are back with our 3rd detection of Gravitational Waves. Ask us anything!
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Hello Reddit, we will be answering questions starting at 1 PM EST. We have a large team of scientists from many different timezones, so we will continue answering questions throughout the week. Keep the questions coming! About this Discovery: On January 4, 2017 the LIGO twin detectors detected gravitational waves for the third time. The gravitational waves detected this time came from the merger of 2 intermediate mass black holes about 3 billion lightyears away! This is the furthest detection yet, and it confirms the existence of stellar-mass black holes. The black holes were about 32 solar masses and 19 solar masses which merged to form a black hole of about 49 solar masses. This means that 2 suns worth of energy was dispersed in all directions as gravitational waves (think of dropping a stone in water)! More info can be found here Simulations and graphics: Simulation of this detections merger Animation of the merger with gravitational wave representation The board of answering scientists: Martin Hendry Bernard F Whiting Brynley Pearlstone Kenneth Strain Varun Bhalerao Andrew Matas Avneet Singh Sean McWilliams Aaron Zimmerman Hunter Gabbard Rob Coyne Daniel Williams Tyson Littenberg Carl-Johan Haster Giles Hammond Jennifer Wright Sean Levey Andrew Spencer The LIGO Laboratory is funded by the NSF, and operated by Caltech and MIT, which conceived and built the Observatory. The NSF led in financial support for the Advanced LIGO project with funding organizations in Germany (MPG), the U.K. (STFC) and Australia (ARC) making significant commitments to the project. More than 1,000 scientists from around the world participate in the effort through the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, which includes the GEO Collaboration. LIGO partners with the Virgo Collaboration, which is supported by Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN) and Nikhef, as well as Virgo’s host institution, the European Gravitational Observatory, a consortium that includes 280 additional scientists throughout Europe. Additional partners are listed at: http://ligo.org/partners.php.